I’d Rather be at Camp

Hi Folks,

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Just a coupla things.  1) If your son was on a trip when we signed up for 2nd Series of activities, he will sign up when he returns, and his activity schedule will be posted on your Keylog Page.  And 2) We are trying something new this year.  After hearing your feedback that you’d like to hear from the counselors during the session, we have asked them to write a note to you and provide you with a quick check-in from them.  Those notes will go out in the mail tomorrow, so you should have them by Tuesday or Wednesday.  What have we learned thus far about this?  Well, some counselors have excellent hand writing.  Others….not so much.  We hope they’re helpful to you.

Mother Nature has continued to be a challenging partner this summer.  It’s gonna end soon, but we have had very few days without “heavy dew,” and maybe even fewer with sunshine.  It’s had an interesting effect and non-effect up here.  The effect is that the stretches of dry weather we’ve experienced have been met with high octane enthusiasm by everyone to get outside and get at it.  We’ve experienced summers with non-stop sunshine and warmth (and that may still happen this summer, by the way), and when a cool day comes along, the kids slow down and their energy level dips.  This summer hasn’t seen that at all, and when it’s dry and outdoors-friendly, the kids have jumped right in, even though it is still on the cool side.  I don’t want to paint an overly dramatic picture…we’ve lost only a few activity periods overall.  Still, waking up each day to clouds and mist could have been disheartening.  Yesterday I was sitting on a bench outside the Lodge before lunch talking with kids just to get a feel for how they were feeling.  One guy walked by and must have heard the conversation, so in passing he just looked over his shoulder at us and said, “I’d still rather be at camp.  And when the sun comes out, it’s gonna be awesome!”  I believe that boy spoke for all of us.  We’ve made the most of it, and then some.  Find me a better definition of “resilience”…I can’t think of one. 

This morning was actually sunny…until it wasn’t.  And it was warmer outside than it has been, so the day got off to a fun start.  We had normal activities and a free period, but we ended that 15 minutes early to accommodate some games we had scheduled with a nearby boys’ camp.  Our 12 & under kids traveled there and the other camp brought their 13 & over boys here.  We played baseball, basketball, flag football, soccer ultimate frisbee, archery, riflery, and tennis.  Some kids weren’t into the games so much, so we also had a bunch of clinics going on they could choose from.  Of course, right as lunch was ending, a spat of “heavy dew” hit us, but it didn’t last too long and we were able to get the games in. 

Tonight we had a campfire, but it was no ordinary campfire.  Tonight was our Legacy Campfire.  We gathered at the campfire area after dinner, and started off in our usual fashion with some singing.  From there, we talked a bit about the history of Timberlane to try and connect the kids, particularly the first-timers, to the idea that camp is an idea and community that is much larger than any one person.  And then we weave that into the discussion of love and loyalty and friendship that brings people back to camp for so many summers.  How many, you ask?  Well, one of our Assistant Directors, JEFF MELROSE, is spending his 25th summer at camp!  A quarter-century!!  Our Associate Director, SCOTT WOLF is in his 15th summer at Timberlane.  And we have five counselors, JACOB ELIAS, JAKE FEIGER, TAYLOR FRISHMAN, JACOB ROSENSTEIN and ADAM WASSERMAN are each celebrating their 10th summer at camp.  That’s a gigantic example of dedication right there, and we like to celebrate that together.

The evening ran extraordinarily late for us, but it was soooo worth it!  We heard some great stories, mostly funny, but ALL of them steeped in friendship…the kind that develops over years of camping together.  It was nothing short of beautiful.

After the campfire we gathered at the flagpole for a special ceremony where we honored the campers elected as United Nations Day captains.  UN Day is coming up in about 12 days.  We will divide the camp into 4 nations, and we’ll spend the day in friendly competition.  It is a bit more competitive than a normal day at camp, and we spend some time getting geared up for it.  Still, the day is friendly and fun.  And it requires a ton of leadership and work to pull it off, so the counselors in each village elect 4 campers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership to be captains.  It’s a big honor, and we recognized them tonight with our torch ceremony.  It was pretty cool.

Yesterday was a pretty decent day weather-wise.  We were anxious to get into our 2nd Series activities, so we got right to it after breakfast and cabin cleanup.  About 10 minutes into 1st period, a fine mist starting falling from the sky.  That changed nothing!  We just kept playing, waterskiing, doing it all.  After a bit the courts got a little too slick to play, so the tennis kids moved into the Rec Hall and played ping pong.  After lunch it dried out again, and we were able to get our Blue & White games in for evening program.

Wednesday was Cruiser Day, and folks…it was wet!!  On Cruiser Day the activities the cabin groups do are largely planned by them and their counselors, so when weather interferes, it requires some planning and fast thinking.  Knowing the forecast, we had each cabin group come up with alternate plans before the day.  What they can’t know is IF it’s going to get wet, WHEN it’s going to get wet, or HOW LONG it’s going to get wet.  So that can make things more interesting for them.  We were so impressed with how they took care of business and the kids.  They were aware, astute, and very flexible.  In camp it heavy-dewed periodically throughout the day.  Out of camp it was the same.  In spite of that, the kids had a fantastic Cruiser Day.  That is the result of just one thing…very hard work from the counselors. 

The week ahead is filled with some great events.  We have Karaoke Night coming up, and we’ll see the kids ham it up for that.  We’re also unveiling a BRAND NEW EVENING PROGRAM in the next few days called Element Zero.  This has never been done at camp, but based on the design and layout of the game, it’s gonna be right up our alley!  And then, of course, July 4th will be awesome.  And the weather forecast is EXCELLENT!  Of course, at this point days without wetness are fantastic!  But our forecast, beginning on Sunday is for a streak of sunny days pushing through the high 70s and into the low 80s.  WE’RE GONNA HAVE SUMMER!!!

Tomorrow’s Trips:
-Brule River, WI: 3 days river canoeing

Tuesday’s Trips:
-Boundary Waters Canoe Area, MN: 7 days lake canoeing
-Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI: 6 days backpacking

We’ll write you again very soon!

Benches up,

Mike & Leslie